Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shimano's All-Electric Gear System is Like F1 Paddle Shifters For Your Bike (from gizmodo.com)

Gear and derailleur mechanisms in high-end bikes are among the more impressive feats of engineering around, which makes bike madman Eric Hagerman's report in Wired on Shimano's new ultra high-end all-electric gear shifters pretty interesting. While other companies have dabbled in replacing rickety lever and cable shifters with all-electric mechanisms, Shimano has taken the tech much further than most. And while it may seem like bike-dude geekery at best, hearing the pros talk about the difference makes it sound like an amazing rig to try.

Switching to servos and batteries is like moving from an automatic transmission to F1 paddle shifters, says one engineer Wired talked to. "Mindblowing—you just touch the button and it shifts," says Tour de France vet Frankie Andreau. And all in all the set is actually lighter than Shimano's current top-of-the-line components, which is a must before pros are even going to go near it. No price yet, but it's pro gear. Big bucks—well over the $2,600 you'd drop on next year's conventional Dura-Ace group. It was on a few riders' bikes at this year's Tour, and it will become available to the public in January of '09 More at: [Wired, Thanks, Joe]

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Latest Project

This is a Bianchi Castro Valley frame that was designed as a Cyclocross/Commuter frame. There are a couple people that may want it built up for them, but in the meantime I'm going to put it together as a single speed road bike. I'm still up in the air on the wheelset. I was going to do something similar to Paul's Surly, but it would make a really nice geared bike as well. So instead of lacing up 1x1 hubs, I may use a traditional cyclocross or road wheelset with a single speed conversion kit on the freehub body along with a Surly Singleator chain tensioner. This way, if I do wind up keeping it for myself I have an easy option to switch to a geared commuter.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Did anyone else catch.....

..the huge penis on the road during todays stage of the tour? If you didn't, here's a poor screen capture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Custom Surly Crosscheck Single-Speed

I just finished building this Surly Crosscheck singlespeed for Paul Martinez. I built the wheels using Surly 1x1 hubs laced to Velocity Deep-V's with DT Revolution spokes. The rest of the bike is comprised of parts from Miche, King, Syntace and Thomson.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wow, just wow (from velonews.com)

When Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr heard the honking behind them, they knew the routine — get single file. “As we singled up, the driver came up on us, told us to ride single file and then started yelling,” Peterson recalled.

The two cyclists were part of a Fourth of July ride that had climbed Mandeville Canyon Road, a popular cycling destination in Los Angeles’ affluent suburb of Brentwood. They had stayed behind the rest of the group to care for another cyclist who had fallen, and once he had been picked up by paramedics, began the descent together. Peterson, for his part, says he yelled back, but neither cyclist was prepared for what they said happened next: The driver pulled ahead of them as they descended the canyon road and slammed on his brakes.

Peterson went through the back window of Dr. Christopher Thompson’s burgundy Infinity sedan. Stoehr attempted to steer around the car but clipped the bumper and went over the bars, landing in the road in oncoming traffic. Thompson, a former emergency room physician, got out of the car, but rather than render aid, he continued to berate the two cyclists, according to witnesses.

Stoehr had a separated shoulder. Peterson’s nose was broken and nearly severed from his face. At the hospital he would require more than 90 stitches to reattach his nose after the broken bone was set. Both will go under the knife for corrective surgery in the future.

Thompson was arrested at the scene and charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He is free on $30,000 bail. Attorney Peter Swarth, who said he was representing Thompson, told the Associated Press that the incident has been mischaracterized.

"We deny there was any road rage incident," Swarth told the AP. "It was a very unfortunate accident."

Word spread rapidly through the local cycling community thanks to e-mail lists maintained by Cynergy Cycling (for which Peterson and Stoehr race) and Velo Club La Grange, a Los Angeles-area cycling club with more than 400 members. Gruesome photos of Peterson and Stoehr gave the e-mails a gross-out factor that added to their rapid spread.

As the cycling community traded notes, people began to question if Dr. Thompson was the same motorist who had a run-in with two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon in March. A member of both clubs forwarded Patrick Watson’s account of his experience to Peterson. The vanity plate, “TCH MDX,” matched, as did the description of the car. The experience was almost identical.

In the March incident, the driver sped ahead of the cyclists then slammed on his brakes. Watson rode into someone’s yard while teammate Josh Crosby veered into oncoming traffic; Watson said the driver made a second effort to hit them and then sped away.

“I had a gut reaction to get the guy’s license number and entered his license number into my phone,” said Watson.

Neither rider was injured. Despite pressure from La Grange’s Public Policy Director, Jeffrey Courion, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley declined to prosecute the case; Watson was told it wasn’t a winner. “I’m a little bitter because this happened before, but no one took it seriously.”

La Grange created the Public Policy Director position so that the club could more effectively lobby public officials. Courion and others have been effective in working with city officials and CalTrans to note road hazards and other issues. Attorney Charles Mostov often assists Courion with advocacy issues. Mostov said, “It provides an opportunity to put the issue in font of public officials ... to educate them on the rights of cyclists and lobby for safer roads and more bike lanes.”

Motivated by their outrage for the situation, local cyclists inundated the local media outlets with the story.

“People are coming out of the woodwork to show their support,” said Peterson. “It’s not just the cyclists but their support networks reaching out as well.”

Mostov, the attorney, said, “What I’m trying to do is be a clearinghouse of information and a calming influence. If we can speak with one voice then it’s going to be more effective than if everyone vents their frustration and anger that these sorts of events keep happening.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why WD40 sucks for bike chains

We (as mechanics) have preached this for years and people still don't understand that WD40 is a terrible chain lube. In fact, it's not a chain lube at all.

Trek testing bike parts vending machine (crunchgear.com)

For the next few weeks in Madison, Wisconsin, Trek is testing out a new vending machine aimed a bikers, called “Trek Stop”. The vending machine sells basic bike repair parts, water bottles, and energy bars. It also has an air compressor so you can put air in your tires. People are reporting that it also has a kiosk with how-tp videos to help you fix your bike.

With the increasing number of bike riders in the America this vending machine is a no brainer. So far Trek is just testing the waters and there is no word on when we could see these in other cities. If I had to guess I would say we should see these in more places next summer.

(thanks to Jay C for the article)